The producer hoped to increase chocolate production to 200t a year through its York Cocoa Works, a site comprised of a factory, shop, café and Cocoa Academy.
York Cocoa House hoped the increased volume would allow the company to expand further into the business-to-business market to grow its own-brand offering.
The company sourced investment from crowdfunding, development growth grants from the Leeds City Region and University of York and asset finance from Academy Leasing. Academy also helped fund the purchase of a bespoke chocolate manufacturing machine.
‘Reputation for chocolate-making’
Commenting on the opening of York Cocoa Works, York Cocoa House founder and managing director Sophie Jewett said: “York Cocoa House is known for its artisan craftsmanship when it comes to chocolate and I’m proud to be supporting the city’s reputation for chocolate-making.
“I’ve had big ambitions for the business since day one and to now have the ability to produce hundreds of tonnes of chocolate right here in York, thanks to Academy Leasing, is very exciting.”
The new hybrid facility will allow the business to handle up to 50t of cocoa and will also host educational activities, professional chocolate training and chocolate factory tasting tours. York Cocoa House will also let other businesses use the facilities to make their own chocolate.
Angela Werner from Academy Leasing added: “Academy and York Cocoa House have worked together for six years, with Academy providing finance for a number of pieces of equipment in that time.
“Earlier this year, Sophie presented her plan for the new manufactory – it was clear to see that this is an exceptional business with a bright future so we had no problems in arranging support to open the new facility.”
Meanwhile, vegetarian pizza business Purezza has secured £35,000 in funding towards opening a vegan cheese factory, after winning an investment pitching competition in London.